Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One Sentence Blurb

Yesterday on the KT Literary blog, agent Kate Schafer challenged her readers to write a one sentence tag line about their book. Because of my blog reading schedule, I did not see it until this morning (which was actually fortuitous). Generally, I really really suck at summarizing. I was the kid that when our English teacher told us to write a two page short story, I turned in 25 pages. I just couldn't go shorter. (Lucky I had an English teacher who was willing to read that much). I once wrote a 400,000 word novel. For those of you who don't write books - that's a lot. I really struggle with writing synopses of my books.

I don't have the same trouble with query letters, because I don't treat them like synopses. I always imagine I'm writing the back of a book blurb. However, I am far from a query letter expert, and I often focus on the wrong thing. Which is weird.

So needless to say when I saw the one sentence challenge my mind said, "I'll never be able to do that." However, because I was late to the game, I got to read everyone else's comments and one commenter gave excellent advice. Basically she said you need to list a protoganist, a choice, and a consequence (thank you Wendy!).

You would think that would be straightforward for anyone to see, but it wasn't for me.

So after thinking about it for a moment, here is what I came up with for me, MG fantasy book:

In Bittersweet Fountain's Spirit Riddled, a middle grade fantasy novel, a twelve-year-old former street urchin struggling with her abandonment must learn to use her “demon”-given abilities to save the man who took her off the streets and has become her only family.

I felt it was important in my tag line to add it was a middle grade fantasy novel, mainly because if you don't say its fantasy, people might expect something completely different. And I feel that most of the other books on the blog took place on Earth, which would definitely be a little confusing.

If you're a writer reading this, I challenge you to write your own one liner. Whether you are a writer or not, I challenge you to look at mine and think if its an interesting tag line. Does it make the book seem interesting? Does it make you want to read it? Are you dying to see it in print? (OK, maybe that last one is too much).

If you guys have any comments on my one liner, let me know.


  1. Hi. I just found your blog...I always like discovering new blogs by other aspiring YA/MG authors. This one is really cool.

    I have to say, this first blog post really caught my eye. I was that kid as well--the one with the 25 page book report. I had to tell everything that happened!

    Not to mention that I also wrote a 400,000 word book. I never met anyone else who did this! Lol...that was before I knew anything about writing or word count. I just wanted to write down the story in my head, and that's how long it was. Funny. In my head it was the first of a series.

    I'm actually still working on it. Needless to say, I cut it way down. I figure I've got outlines/notes now on the next three books. lol.

    Just getting this first one done is crazy though. One liner? Hmmm...Not sure I can do it yet. I know I have to be able to. I've got it down to about three lines. I'll have to get back to you on this. :)

    btw, my name is Callie. I'm writing a YA paranormal.

    I'm also trying to promote a contest I am having on my site. The first prize is a $20.00 gift certificate to the bookstore and a critique of your first chapter. It's a fun contest, you just have to add a paragraph to the line, "her lips burned"

    Anyway, nice to "meet" you. Feel free to stop by and enter our contest and tell your friends. Thanks!

  2. Callie,

    Thanks for your comment. Its always great to know that people are reading. It is nice to "meet" you as well. I'll have to check our your contest, I'm always willing to snag at gift certificate to a bookstore!